by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
Roger Grogman and Eric Pfeifer will continue carrying the torch for the Sanibel Plan and Land Development Code as they begin serving three-year terms on the Planning Commission. Both were unanimously reappointed in January by City Council and equally reelected as chair and vice chair by their fellow commissioners.
The Planning Commission, a quasi-judicial body, acts as the local planning agency and land development commission. Its purpose is to plan for, and when appropriate, limit development consistent with the Sanibel Plan and Land Development Code. It is a responsibility Grogman and Pfeifer take in earnest.
“The Sanibel Plan and its underlying Land Development Code are very important and we take encroachment of them very serious,” said Grogman. “The Land Development Code is the difference between us and other communities.”
Pfeifer said when the LDC was developed in 1976, our forefathers had the vision to protect the island and ultimately we have 70 percent conservation land. “No where else can you find that. I feel an obligation to help preserve it,” he said. The LDC has worked for 46 years and he wants to be responsible for continuing it.
The Planning Commission additionally serves as an advisory to City Council and it’s a relationship Grogman described as a “great syncopation to protect Sanibel.” He said serving on the Planning Commission gives him and his six fellow commissioners an active role in maintaining Sanibel and its harmony with nature.
Grogman was first appointed to the commission in 2018 and is entering his second year as chair. “I consider it an honor to be chair,” he said. “All of the commission members are great citizens and we work together to provide Sanibel with outcomes that reflect the best reflection of the Sanibel Vision and Plan which provides the basis for all of our future.”
Pfeifer has a background in engineering and been a Realtor for two decades, during which time he gained an understanding of the LDC to educate his buyers. “I felt it was interesting and understood it through my engineering degree,” he said.
Pfeifer enjoys studying individual cases before the commission, from a variance to conditional use permits, and understanding some of the challenges and applying the LDC to help applicants. “It shouldn’t always be a ‘no,’ sometimes we need to use reason,” he said. “I enjoy solving problems, maybe it’s my engineering background.”
He has served on the commission for the past three years and is entering his second year as vice chair. “I think it says a lot to be reelected,” he said. “There are more veteran people who should be holding positions, but it shows we are doing a good job and earned their respect.”
Ty Symroski, Laura DeBruce, Matt Kirchner, Paul Nichols and Karen Storjohann make up the rest of the Planning Commission. And together, with Grogman and Pfeifer, carry the torch for the Sanibel Plan and Land Development Code.